While the NFL Draft is important, it's not a make-it-or-break-it deal for young players. These 10 Dallas Cowboys legends prove Draft Day is just a beginning.
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On the whole, Brown's career wasn't all that impressive. It's still worth remembering, though, that Brown was taken 320th overall in the 12th round of the 1991 NFL Draft. Why is it worth remembering? Well, that No. 320 pick wound up becoming the MVP of Super Bowl XXX – the Cowboys' most recent championship.
Getty ImagesGeorge Rose
It feels unfair to classify Witten as a steal, because he was a top 100 pick. But he was taken No. 69 overall, in the third round, which means the rest of the league passed on taking a future Hall of Famer at least twice.
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Ratliff is probably the Cowboys' biggest steal of the modern drafting era, when the NFL draft was limited to seven rounds. The Auburn defensive tackle was taken 224th overall, just 31 picks from the end of the draft. He had four Pro Bowl seasons and two All-Pro selections during his nine-year stint in Dallas.
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Lett doesn't typically get the same amount of credit as guys like Charles Haley and Russell Maryland for the success of the Dallas defense in the 1990s. He was a two-time Pro Bowler for a franchise that won three championships, though. Even better than that, he was taken No. 173 overall out of Division II's Emporia State. He was one of just two Pro Bowlers selected between the seventh and 12th rounds of the 1991 NFL Draft.
Many of the Cowboys' top receiving accolades come from heralded draft picks – first-round guys like Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant. Their first great receiver, though, was a seventh-round pick out of Florida A&M. Hayes racked up 7,414 yards and 71 touchdowns in a career that saw him wind up in both the Cowboys' Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His 71 career receiving touchdowns is still a franchise record.
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Martin's Cowboys career sack record of 114 stood for 30 years, until DeMarcus Ware broke it during the 2013 season. The difference is that Ware was selected No. 11 overall in 2005, while Martin went 53rd – in the third round. Martin helped Dallas to its second Super Bowl and earned co-MVP honors in the game. He needed just 158 games to record his 114 sacks.
Getty ImagesGeorge Gojkovich
One of the early dominant defenders in Cowboys history, Pugh played before sacks were even an official statistic – but he is unofficially credited with 95.5 of them. He was a big part of both Cowboys' championships in the 1970s, despite being drafted 145th overall in the 11th round of the 1965 NFL Draft.
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In many ways it can be hard to compare the past to the present of the NFL, and Roger Staubach exemplifies that. The Cowboys took him in the 10th round of the 1964 NFL Draft – which had 20 rounds in total. Because of his military obligations, Staubach wouldn't even suit up until 1969. It's still impressive, though, that one of the Cowboys' all-time greats wasn't selected until pick No. 129.
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From tiny Fort Valley State to the Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Wright has to be in the argument for best Cowboys offensive lineman of all time. He played 166 games for Dallas, earning six Pro Bowl nods, four All-Pro selections and winning two Super Bowls. His resume is as elite as it gets – all despite falling to the seventh round, where the Cowboys selected him 182nd overall.
Walker did enough to be considered a steal in his own right -- he came to Dallas from the USFL as a fifth-round pick, and he earned two Pro Bowl selections during his time there. But his real impact came when the Cowboys traded him to Minnesota for five players and six draft picks, setting the foundation for their Super Bowl rosters of the 1990s. The draft pick that secured that trade and helped launch a dynasty was taken No. 114 overall in 1985. Quite a steal indeed.